Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript

MS Ferrell-Vogüé - Parker Library, Corpus Christi College (Cambridge, United Kingdom)

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The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript is the greatest and most comprehensive manuscript with the works of the French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377). On 784 lavish pages one finds ballads, virelais, and Rondeaus, which form the primary work of his musical creativity. The Messe de Nostre Dame, which originated ca. 1360/65 and is the first time the Ordinary that was completely set to polyphonic music as a cycle, is certainly of particular importance. Shorter allegorical tales in verse and romances round out the collection. The diverse work is furnished with 118 miniatures by the Bouqueteaux Master, who worked on the manuscript along with eight other artists from his workshop and five scribes. The charming depictions are spread through the entire manuscript and relate fabulous stories of chivalry, mythology, and nature.

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Description

Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript

The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript, one of the most important sources for the works of Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377), was thought to be lost for over 70 years. The work, which nearly contains the entire body of work by the French poet and composer, first resurfaced ca. 2000. The comprehensive manuscript proudly boasts 784 pages, gathering together almost all of his secular ballads, virelais, and Rondeaus. The Frenchman’s literary work was mostly limited to short allegorical tales in verse and romances. 118 splendid miniatures by the Bouqueteaux Master and his workshop provide a royal overall impression, which tell stories from the lives of knights, mythology, and natural history.

Machaut as a Composer

The music by Guillaume de Machaut take up 235 pages of the manuscript. Among the numerous ballads, virelais, and Rondeaus, the Messe de Nostre Dame stands out. The work originated ca. 1360/65 and is considered to be the first time the Ordinary was set completely to four-part music as a cycle. Previously, it had been typical to sing the individual parts of the Ordinary monophonically. Thanks to this innovation, among others, Machaut is considered today to be one of the most important composers of the Ars Nova.

Vivid Miniatures for Representational Purposes

The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript is the greatest and most comprehensive of the manuscripts that survive today. It is assumed that Machaut promoted the production of such books for the representational purposes of the members of the French royal house. This purpose also explains the 118 enchanting miniatures originating from the workshop of the Bouqueteaux Master. Also known as the Grove Master for his depiction of parasol-like trees gathered in sparse groups to form forests, he collaborated with eight additional artists and five scribes. The loaded depictions are variably spaced, accompanying the two-columned text they encircle in a **simple frame with fine tendrils.

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